Deep breath! You’re almost to the finish line!

In a few short days, you’ll be finished with all your finals. You’ll have an opportunity for some well-earned rest and rejuvenation. Perhaps you’ll be staying in the New Orleans area. Perhaps you’ll be traveling to visit family, friends, or for vacation. Whatever your plans, be aware of what going home for the holidays brings up for you and make sure to practice some self-care.

The holidays can bring up a wide range of emotions for many people. They can bring comfort, joy, peace, hopefulness, and renewal. However, holidays can also prompt anxiety or sadness. Family can be a source of great comfort but can also push your buttons or pull you toward resuming old patterns when you return home.

You may find that as you have grown and changed, your family or friends may have changed, too. After all, this is a time of transition for your families and friends as well and will require adjusting to changes in those relationships. You might realize that you feel more like yourself at Loyola! Though they can be difficult to navigate, changes in relationships are a normal part of moving toward independence and adulthood.

So, as you journey home, consider a few tips that might help along the way:

  • If you notice yourself feeling the “holiday blues,” remember the points noted above. Consider if there are conversations you need to have to mend relationships or if there are boundaries that you might need to set.
  • Think about your hopes for the holidays and ask if there’s room for you to challenge your own expectations of self, others and the holiday season in general.
  • Make time for rest and relaxation.  You are likely to feel exhausted after final exams but still want to visit with everyone back home.  Having a loosely structured plan for your break can help you have time for all your family and friends AND time for sleep, exercise, and relaxation.
  • Continue self-care. Remember what helps you feel well and balanced, and continue to engage in those activities. Perhaps that’s journaling, baking, biking, singing, or praying.
  • Keep in contact with your friends from Loyola.  Make a few phone calls, Skype, or send email/text messages. You’ll be happy to pick up where you left off when you return to campus in January.
  • Consider recording a “home for the holidays” playlist to assist with relaxation or boost your mood.
  • Volunteer.  Remembering the Jesuit ideals of compassion and dignity this holiday season and giving of your time and energy to assist in the lives of others will leave you feeling a sense of renewal and motivation for the spring semester.

However you spend your time, know that the UCC wishes you a holiday of rest and rejuvenation. Enjoy the well-earned time off, and we’ll see you next year!

Brooks Zitzmann, LCSW

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